Monday, 12 May 2008

Mullion harbour shoreline management plan

The National Trust acquired Mullion in 1945 principally through a gift from Mr A Meyer. In addition to the harbour itself, the Trust also cares for other buildings within the vicinity of the harbour. The harbour still supports a small fishing community, with a few boats landing mainly crabs, lobster and crawfish. It is now for recreation and quiet enjoyment that most people visit the cove.

Global warming and sea level rise are affecting coastal areas throughout Britain, leaving existing sea defences struggling to provide the same level of protection as in the past. Predictions are that these pressures will continue to increase. Recognising this threat, the Trust commissioned the Mullion Harbour Study in 2004 to identify future options for the long-term management of the harbour. The study looked into the structure of the harbour walls, and assessed the cultural and economic impact of the harbour on the surrounding community. The Trust hopes that the study will assist other harbour owners, as climate change and sea level rise are not faced by the Trust alone.

The Mullion Harbour Study identified a number of possible options for future management:

1. Installation of an offshore breakwater

2. Maintain and repair

3. Managed retreat

Option 1 was rejected as impractical, expensive and environmentally damaging. It was recommended that the Trust adopt a strategy, which combined the other two options. This will allow residents and visitors to enjoy the harbour for as long as possible, but recognises that, at an unpredictable date in the near or distant future, the cove will revert back to its original state of an undeveloped bay.

After Easter 2006, a programme of works costing over £150,000 started to repair the harbour from winter damage and the Trust still continue a structured inspection and maintenance programme, at an estimated cost of at least £5,000 each year however, Once maintenance and repair is no longer deemed viable, the managed retreat phase will begin. In this phase, regular maintenance of the breakwaters will cease and the Trust will systematically remove the breakwaters whilst consolidating the inner harbour walls.

To view the full National Trust Mullion harbour study (2004) click here

No comments: